Heavy traffic plowed through a busy street at 41st Street and Dyer Ave as I tried to find a clean spot to set my feet upon. The sidewalk was covered over and over with pigeon dirt. As I hurried along to get in time to a pastoral visit after Church, I felt like crying as the impossible dance between disgusting dirt expressed how I was feeling in the eye of a rapidly changing political climate in Germany.
Over night the news broke of unbelievable words spoken out in public. A Holocaust denial par excellence beyond what I could have ever imagined. In a speech addressed to members of the “Young Alternative” in Thuringia (East Germany), Alexander Gauland, the party leader of the AfD (Alternative for Germany) and party leader of the party in the German Bundestag, said that Hitler and National Socialism were just a “bird dirt” in 1,000 years of “successful” German history. (Link)
How could he ever say such words of pure denial? 6 Million Jews were brutally murdered, and 2 Million Roma, Sinti, as well as disabled people and “enemies” of the system found a brutal death. As a German pastor devoted to seek reconciliation for the crimes my nation committed, it sickens me to hear of this change of the political climate in Germany. And again, as many years ago, mostly those feeling underprivileged, locked out, and neglected turn to the far right and its terrible lies on humanity.
It cannot be expressed enough: EVERY life counts and every life lost through the Holocaust is one life, which can never be brought back again. Leaving behind a hurtful gap of a person, who was created in the image of God.
Shame, anger and fear accompanied every step forward as I made my way to the visit. No, German and international history is covered by the crimes of Hitler and National Socialism. If Gauland describes this as “bird dirt”, he maybe didn’t have in mind, how aggressive it can eat itself through any material being massively toxic. The crimes of Hitler and National Socialism are such huge piles of toxic waste – and I have committed large amounts of my involvement to warn about this life denying and dangerous ideology. Maybe Gauland needs a crash course in Holocaust education? I´d be up to challenge him at the Big Apple and shake him up from his Holocaust denial with strong Jewish and Interfaith partners at my side.
We know, where history leads with the infectious ideology of antisemitism. A nightmare, neglecting to see each person as a beautiful image of God – may we wake up from our daydreams as this nightmare is starting to creeping into our reality in Germany, the United States, and around the Globe.